Interview with Akihiro Kitamura
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year or so, you couldn’t have failed to have seen something on the internet, in a magazine or even on the T.V about the most wonderfully demented film, The Human Centipede. The movie has been mentioned everywhere, from ‘Tonight with Jonathan Ross’, Nick Frost’s daily tweets about his new ‘Obsession’, fan based merchandise, and the trailer was even shown on Charlie Brookers ‘You have been watching’. With all this publicity and infamy it was time for Horror Extreme to get the details from the mouth of the titular centipede, Akihiro Kitamura.
Lips: When you accepted the role in THC, did you know that you were going to be the head? it obviously works really well because of the language barrier.
Akihiro: Yes. When I read the script, it was the Japanese male character who was going to be the head. I would not mind being attached to a beautiful woman but I think the film works great to have a guy who can only speak Japanese as the head. That was the director Tom Six’s intention so I can not communicate with the doctor or the girls. Even though I can talk, I am mute in a way.
Lips: Were you already aware of the Manga/comic which is very similar in tone to The Human Centipede? If yes what did you think of it?
Akihiro: You mean the work of Junji Ito? People say that our film has a similar weird feel to his comic books, but I do not think the film is based on Ito’s work. Tom said he came up with the idea of this film when he watched a child molester on TV and he joked that his face should be attached to a truck driver’s ass as a punishment. Then he was like “Oh! That will make a great horror film!” I also think maybe the Dutch are a little kinky like us Japanese, so we think alike. Ha ha.
Lips: Did you ever think that The Human Centipede would become this popular and gain such cult interest as it has? Have you seen all the tribute pieces of merchandise that people have made?
Akihiro: When I read the script, I thought the film was genius. When we were shooting it, I knew we were making something people have never seen before. I knew it was going to be a cult classic then, and when I saw the film for the first time at the World Premiere at Fright Fest, London last year, I thought it was a horror masterpiece. Then When IFC Films bought this film in the U.S and came up with the trailer and the poster, all the things started to happen. A lot of people started talking about it. Twitter really helped spreading the word about the film. Celebrities were mentioning it everywhere and all the major media got interest in the film. All the tribute pieces such your The Human Centipede Necklace and The Human Centipede Cat Toy came out and that also helped the film getting known to wider range of people. Honestly, nobody expected the film to be this big thing!!!!! Except our producer Ilona Six who is the sister of Tom. I think She knew It would be success. She is very smart lady. I trusted her from the beginning.
Lips: Do you get recognised from starring in the Human Centipede even though you don’t have two American lovelies stitched to you?
Akihiro: Ha ha! I have longer hair now so nobody recognises me. I was watching a movie in a movie theatre recently and a group of people next to me were talking about the Human Centipede. I was like “Don’t you know the head of the centipede is sitting right next to you?” Ha ha!
Lips: I’ve heard that Dieter Laser stayed in character off set, did this help enhance your performance? He’s creepy enough in the film let alone dealing with that in your ‘down time’
Akihiro: Dieter is a very professional actor and he prepared well for his role. He kept his distance from the rest of us on the set and would never eat with us during our lunch break but I can totally understand that. I learned so much from the man. Actually I am also an actor who stays in character so I was watching him as Dr. Heiter off set! HAHA! I alway try to keep the tension between actors with respect.
Lips: Pun intended, but did you form a close bond with Ashley and Ashlynn seeing the intense proximity you are all in on set?
Akihiro: Oh yeah we got really close. We had to get to know each other very fast to do this crazy film. It was delight to have met Ashley and Ashlynn. Two hot American chicks! I still feel connected to them in my spirit not because we were the centipede in the film but because we all shared a long journey with this film. What an experience!
Lips: There is a feeling and aesthetic of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre within the Human Centipede, as in there’s not much gore but letting the viewers imagination fill in the gaps to what horrors are happening to these poor unfortunates. Was this a conscious decision and do you feel you satisfied the gore-hounds out there?
Akihiro: No this film is not gore filled at all, not bloody. If you are looking for a gore fest, this film might not be for you. But it is very tough. Imagining what those characters are going through is far scarier than special effects. And yes of course that is the intention of Tom Six. He is genius. I loved working with him and wish to work with him in the future!
Lips: Do you have any projects in the pipeline ( ahem ) that us horror fans might be interested in?
Akihiro: I do not know what I am going to do next, that is an actor’s life. Hopefully, I am going to be in Quentin Tarantino’s next film because he came to see The Human Centipede at the Nuart theater when it opened in LA and he really enjoyed the movie. he’s a very cool guy. I really want to work with him! There are so many directors I want to work with now! The Human Centipede opened up great door for me!!! NICE!
By the way, I think the UK is a very cool place. We young Japanese appreciate your culture, football, fashion and music. I am also very influenced by UK cinema such as ‘Trainspotting’ and ’28 days Later’. I am so happy that our film is going to be over there soon. I hope many UK film fans go watch our lovely film!
The Human Centipede will now be showing at limited UK cinemas starting August 20th 2010